What's new about LeapPad Ultra that I love?
For me, the coolest thing about the new units is that they come with WiFi. The folks at LeapFrog added a kid-safe web browser (LeapSearch) that gives them access to age-appropriate content...all of it pre-screened by the learning team at LeapFrog.
My kiddos can visit more than 1500 videos, images, and websites including PBS Kids, Nick Jr., National Geographic Kids, and Sesame Street (yay, Big Bird!). I actually feel safer knowing that I can't (meaning the kids can't either) add sites to LeapSearch. It's all from scratch, filtered content approved by learning experts.
And I can turn the WiFi off if I want to under the Parental Controls. If I want to. Whenever I feel like it. Yes. Yes, I can.
- Peer-to-Peer Play on the Same Network
- Quick Sync
I know some of you are real techie-oriented. I am not, so I will explain what's new about LPU as best as I can:
There is a new, larger screen. At seven inches, it is high resolution and specially designed to help your little guys learn to write using the included stylus...at the same time supporting a touch screen for more interaction. Front and back camera and video recorder, MP3 Player, Rechargeable Battery, AC Adaptor, 8GB for storage and apps.
Free content! LPU comes with a music player and ten learning songs, Art Studio Ultra and Photo Fun Ultra Apps, improved Pet Pad app, Pet Chat, Utilities (calculator, notepad, calendar, voice memo, clock/stopwatch), and one download from the LeapFrog App Center.
Would this make a good gift for my kids?
Judging by the reaction my girls had when they opened the shipping box, I'd say yes. Buying for Christmas can get expensive, for parents and other relatives. Saving up for a purchase like this would make for a wonderful gift. The games and apps make for fun stocking stuffers and "extras." As a mom who is currently very much focused on making her dollars stretch, I can't always just run out and pick up the latest and greatest toy. Plan ahead for Christmas now and add the LeapPad Ultra to your shopping list.
How much do you let your kids play?
There's not much that makes me roll my eyes more than kids who are constantly glued to a screen. Believe me, my kids would watch TV or play on their LeapPad units for hours if I'd let them. For us, it's all about finding balance. When chores have been completed and/or reading time logged, then I allow them some "screen time" with their video games in short doses. I do love that LeapFrog offers some educational options! We make sure these tablets are play things and not habits.
And, as I've said before, our LeapPads are life savers for those times when we're stuck at a doctor's office, waiting for a sibling during dance class, or long car trips. Quiet kids= less stressed mom.
In short, I love the changes that LeapFrog has made to the new LeapPad Ultra units. My girls look forward to taking a break to watch a video, read an eBook, or play with a fun new app. They love the new Turbo Racing Game.
Disclosure: I was sent two LeapPad Ultra units for review, but was not financially compensated for this post. As always, all opinions are my own!